Archive for February, 2013

Parenting 101, redux

Dear WordPress:

I’m super annoyed at the fact that you decided to delete one of my posts. Here’s evidence that I actually posted something Feb. 22:

Screen shot 2013-02-28 at 2.43.22 PM

Were you trying to protect the woman I was complaining about, or did you simply make a big fat mistake?

To recap, I was irritated with the woman whose children have music lessons the same day as mine. Her child is a complete brat, but I believe he behaves that way because she allows it. A friend of mine pointed out that it could be that her son has developmental delays or learning challenges. I did consider that, and maybe he does. However, I’ve been observing his behavior and hers for more than three months now and I’m convinced that she is causing the problem or exacerbating an existing problem.

Here’s some evidence:

  • She is more interested in talking loudly on her cell phone than paying attention to him and what he is doing.
  • She makes very little effort to interact with him or redirect him in any way.
  • Instead of being specific about what she wants him to do (ie. read instead of play an iPad game), she asks him over and over again if he wants to do it. What kid wouldn’t say, “No” to a question like that?

My point in the post was that she clearly needs help in the form of a therapist, nanny or more involved husband or partner. I wasn’t so much telling her how she needed to parent her son, just that I would like her to make sure her son is not a huge disruption in the music lesson waiting room.

Maybe it is a good thing you deleted the former post, because now I have new information to share.

The son’s behavior was out of control this week, yet she had the nerve to give us parenting advice. WTF?!?

Check this out (faces obscured to protect the guilty):

The offense

That’s the kid lying in the middle of the floor. On the right is a guy carrying a large something and he needs to get by. On the left is the mom not doing anything. Only after the guy struggled to get past did she say anything.

The mom: Can you sit up in the chair?

The kid: NO!

In fact, he moved himself more into the center of the room. Then she stepped over him and LEFT THE ROOM to talk on her cell phone!

Later, she overheard Eddie telling one of the instructors he was sorry Gideon hadn’t practiced as much as usual. She piped up with this beauty:

Here’s what I do with my children: I offer a reward every time they practice their instruments.

Seriously, Woman? You feel you are in a position to offer any parenting advice at all? Notice my child in the photo above. See how he is sitting quietly, looking on in amazement at what the your kid is doing?

Now I do have some advice for you: STFU.

As for you, WordPress, don’t you dare delete this post!


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Dear East Dublin Lions Club Members:

I was shocked to learn today that you have decided to cancel the 2013 Redneck Games. According to the Associated Press article, there are four reasons for this decision:

  1. The economy
  2. Low attendance at prior festivals
  3. Sponsors backing out
  4. Scrutiny from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division folks who found fecal bacteria in the Oconee River.

No. 1 is a lame, catch-all excuse, so I won’t even address that.

No. 2 and 3 go hand-in-hand, but it is your own fault: You moved the successful festival from July to Memorial Day Weekend last year. What were you thinking? Surely you weren’t surprised that only a few hardcore fans (ahem … folks like me … ahem) showed up. And the ratio of attendees to media people was about 3:1.

Media attention, Redneck Games 2012

Media attention, Redneck Games 2012

That brings us to No. 4 (maybe this should have been No. 2 — har har). First of all, YUCK! Get that cleaned up! Second, just stop people from going in the river. No big deal. Give ’em some hoses or a set up a sprinkler and they will be fine.

Redneck Riviera, Redneck Games 2011

Redneck Riviera, Redneck Games 2011

I hope you will reconsider. If you embraced technology, got your website up to scratch, and started using social media effectively, you could build on all the media attention from years past and have an amazing, well-attended festival.

You should not deny the public the ability to see this:

Bobbin' for pigs' feet, Redneck Games 2010

Bobbin’ for pigs’ feet, Redneck Games 2010

Or this:

Mudpit belly flop, Redneck Games 2010

Mudpit belly flop, Redneck Games 2010

Or even this:

Stylish attendee, Redneck Games 2011

Stylish attendee, Redneck Games 2011

Please reconsider. Don’t let me down.

Old times, they are not forgotten,

Southern style

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Bemoaning “be mine”


Dear St. Valentine:

I understand we have you to thank for the most dreadful of all holidays. I know you didn’t mean for this to happen. You were just hanging out, performing illegal Christian marriages, curing the random blind girl, etc. Then Claudius II got his panties in a wad and killed you in 269 AD. Of course he didn’t do it himself; he had someone else carry out the three-part killing of beating, stoning and decapitation. That must have been loads of fun.

But before you died, you had to go and write that note to the formerly blind daughter of your jailer, signing it “from your Valentine.” Way to go. Now it’s a “thing.”

Yes, I know that Chaucer had a hand in creating this holiday too. Apparently, no one celebrated this day until he wrote “Parliament of Foules” around 1375. He manages to link love with St. Valentine’s feast day–an association that didn’t exist until after his poem received widespread attention.

For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate

So why am I so grumpy? I just think it is over-commercialized crap. It is a holiday that makes so many people feel awful. Unhappily single people hate it because it is a reminder of their relationship status. Many married couples hate it because it puts pressure on each person to get the “right” gift or make the “best” plans.

It’s a waste of money.

If you love someone, shouldn’t you show it every day of the year and not one Hallmark-dictated day?

Yes, I’m a Valentine’s Day Scrooge. (I do like those yummy conversation hearts, though.)

Sorry, V. It’s not you. It’s me.

Anyway, I hope you can rest in peace with all those people looking at your skull every day.


St. Valentine

St. Valentine hangs around in his glass box in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome (image courtesy of Rebecca Weldon)

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Disorderly conduct

Warning: This post contains graphic images of medical conditions.

Dear Donald G. McNeil Jr.:

Thank you for speaking to students in my class yesterday, and for speaking to a larger group of students later. I enjoyed meeting you and hearing your tales about covering “germs and worms.”

I too have a fascination with disease. Though I do not write about it for The New York Times, I do write. Readers of this blog are forced to go with me occasionally down the rabbit hole of information about horrible things.

I learned about two new disorders this week: Cancrum Oris and Buruli Ulcer.

Cancrum Oris is straight out of a horror movie. Otherwise known as “Noma,” Cancrum Oris is a type of gangrene that only affects the face, and only appears in children. It is caused by two different bacteria and usually shows up after another serious disease such as measles or scarlet fever.

Look away now if you don’t want to see.

Cancrum Oris

Antibiotics and improved nutrition can help this disorder from getting worse. And then there’s plastic surgery, which is sadly out of the realm of the possible for many of these poor children. (There is a reason they are malnourished.)

Buruli Ulcer is a tropical disease caused by a bacteria in the leprosy and tuberculosis family. It starts innocently with a simple nodule. It affects skin and can get into the bone. Fun!

Warning: All kinds of terrible up ahead!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe good news is that a vaccine is in development.

But you, as the Germ Guru, must know all this already.

I just wanted you to know that I share your fascination.

Thanks again for visiting and I hope to see you again soon.

Yours in pestilence,

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Discover this show!

Dear Discovery Channel:

Thank you so much for offering “Dual Survival” in your lineup. I stumbled across this show while stranded in a Hampton Inn in Macon on New Year’s Day.

I am fully aware that it is edited for entertainment purposes, as is typical of reality shows. But it seems to be more “real” than most. And costar Cody seems to be a man of integrity, if his posts regarding the show are any indication.

It is one show that appeals to my entire family. We’ve all learned so much from the show. For example, I learned:

  • How to catch prey using a bamboo v-trap
  • How to start a fire using the exposed filament of a flashlight bulb
  • How to stitch a wound using leafcutter ants"Dual Survival"

I also learned that I need to put costar Joe Teti on my list.


Hot and resourceful — just how I like ’em. So thanks for that casting decision.

The next time I find myself lost in the jungle or desert, I know my reality TV addiction will produce positive results in some respect. Keep up the good work!

Your loyal viewer,

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Dear Jinichi Kawakami,

I’m writing you on behalf of my son Dominic and his friend Christian. They plan to be ninjas when they grow up, and would like to start training. As you are the 21st head of the Ban family, one of the 53 families that formed the renowned Koga Clan of ninja, you are in a position to help them realize their dreams.

Despite the fact that you told American Public Media Marketplace, “You cannot make a living being a ninja!,” the boys would like to try. Their plans originally included buying a blimp and flying over Switzerland to look for any suspicious activity. They abandoned the idea when I mentioned the following:

  1. Blimps are hard to come by. It’s not like they could go to O.C. Welch’s Used Blimp Lot and pick one up.
  2. If Christian and Dominic and their friends are off ninja-ing, there is no one to fly the blimp, or park it, so to speak, in the airspace over the area that needs ninjas.
  3. Though there likely is suspicious activity in Switzerland, there are other areas that need greater scrutiny. Washington, D.C., might be a good place to start.

The new plan is to purchase an RV to serve as home base for their clan of ninja. It offers easy access for potty breaks while they are getting in a full day of surveillance. The boys plan to serve as vigilantes: rescuing the helpless, punishing evil-doers, and generally righting society’s wrongs. Like any good shinobi, they plan to do this through espionage, infiltration and even open combat, if necessary, all while dressed in the finest of ninja outfits. (Dominic’s will be green, he says, to better blend into the natural environment.)

You and I can both agree that there is still a need for ninjas today, even though I have mentioned to them your assertion that they will need day jobs. Rest assured they are taking this to heart. Christian plans to be a lawyer and Dominic intends to be a park ranger or artist.

I urge you to rethink your refusal to take on a protégé for the deadly art of ninjitsu. I can recommend two aspiring ninjas who would thrive under your tutelage, and could carry on the tradition in an appropriate and respectful yet modern way. Please let me know if I can provide more information regarding their ninja candidacy.

Thank you for your consideration.



*Yes, I know that is a “Kung Fu” reference and has nothing to do with Japan and ninjas.

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